Sep 15, 2020

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript September 15

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript September 15
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsOhio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript September 15

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on September 15 to give coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of his news briefing here.

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Gov. DeWine: (03:54)
Afternoon, everybody. Today, I’m wearing a neck tie from Ohio Christian University in Circleville. They were founded in 1948 as Circleville Bible College for the purpose of educating clergy for the churches of Christ in Christian Union. Campus continues to grow and the university continues to grow. While remaining true to its founders’ vision, Ohio Christian University has expanded its outreach by becoming accredited by the higher learning commission, by being affiliated with the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Gov. DeWine: (04:37)
[Eric 00:04:36], let’s go to the slides. You’ll see we’re running about average here. As far as cases, we normally see a downturn you see during the weekend and the day after the weekend. This is not too far off where it’s been for 21 days. The deaths are higher. And as I said last time, just make sure everybody understands how this is done and how it’s been done throughout this. Sadly, there were an additional 87 deaths reported during the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of deaths reported in the days since early May, it’s the third highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. But to be clear, not all these deaths occurred in the past day. This is the number of reported since the data was updated yesterday, basically what’s reported in a 24 hour period. Key word is reported. Coroners have up to six months. Usually it does not take that long, but they have up to six months to certify a death certificate. There can be a delay between the date a death occurs and the date the death is reported and many times [inaudible 00:05:57] there is. Let’s look at this chart. Eric, next one. Deaths reported in last 24 hours by date of death. You’ll see back here, there’s one case that occurred May 6 that was reported today. One in here, somewhere in the later part looks like later part of June, July 25th. But once you then get to August 4th, basically all the deaths that are being reported today occurred during this basically a little over a month period of time. Anyway, I get questions about this and get emails and people wonder how this is done. We want to make sure that we explained that correctly. 83% of the deaths reported in the past 24 hours happened in basically the last month.

Gov. DeWine: (06:55)
Let’s go to the update in regard to our 88 counties. Again, this is looking back for a two week period of time per 100,000 population and looking at the counties 1 through 88 as far as who had the most cases based on population during that period of time. Eric, let’s now go to the… And this is available up on our webpage. Let’s go to the top 10. I’ll just read them down. Putnam Mercer, Butler, Shelby, Henry, Athens, Franklin, Montgomery, Darke, and Miami. And again, what you’ll see here is most of these are now some of our more smaller counties with several exceptions in here, but most of them are smaller.

Gov. DeWine: (07:49)
I wanted to talk about this last week, but we ran out of time and it is something that is important. Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. It’s a real honor to recognize the achievements of so many remarkable people in our great state and certainly among them, Ohio veterans. In 1992, my friend George Voinovich, when he was governor, created the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. He recognized that veterans not only serve during their time in service, but so many of them when they come back home continue to serve and just do amazing, amazing things. And so what this is is a recognition of those things that they’ve done since they come home. A total of 895 of Ohio’s veterans have been inducted now into the Hall of Fame.

Gov. DeWine: (08:43)
Today, I’m pleased to announce that a new class of veterans will be joining this distinguished group of heroes and you’ll see their names here on this slide. The class of 2020 listed on the screen includes 20 men and women representing four branches of the armed service and representing 16 of our Ohio counties. Outside of their military service, each is continuing to serve our country as well as this great state of Ohio. The veterans have served as business owners, community volunteers, scientists, advocates, engineers, and many, many more. Although the pandemic will prevent us from gathering in person to celebrate this year, we’re very grateful for each one of our veterans and each one of the veterans who we’re honoring today. And our Ohio Department of Veterans Services will be presenting each one of the recipients with your medals. We also post a virtual ceremony online on November 5th at Ohiovets.gov. Again, congratulations to our Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame class of 2020. Thank you so very, very much for your service.

Gov. DeWine: (10:03)
Speaking of veterans, I want to wish Ohioan, Asa Newman, who was a Tuskegee airman in World War II, a very happy 102nd birthday coming up. Mr. Newman grew up in Cleveland, now lives in Ravenna. Happy birthday and thank you so very, very much for your service. We talked last time about having Director McElroy here to talk really about what’s going on as far as testing in our nursing homes and some of our other facilities, I think the Director is on. Director, can you hear me?

Director McElroy: (10:55)
I can hear you, Governor.

Gov. DeWine: (10:57)
Well, Director is the Director of Aging. Thank you very much for joining us. She’s joined us I know before, but Director, talk to us a little bit about and we’ll start maybe with our nursing homes and about the testing that is going on now in our nursing homes. This has been something that we started with the Ohio National Guard very early on. It has evolved with the testing and the nursing homes remains very, very important. Let’s start, if we could, with our nursing homes, if you could tell us what’s going on in our nursing homes.

Director McElroy: (11:34)
Absolutely. Thank you, sir. And as you know, every action that we’re taking is so important in preventing the spread and reducing the number of deaths. We know that for preventing the spread across the country and the world testing is one of the most critical tools in our arsenal. And so when Ohio’s long term facilities perform COVID-19 testing on their staffs, they’re screening in a preventive way to catch early those who are positive so that the spread is stopped. We know that the risk is real and the result for older loved ones can be devastating and so we continue to build our capabilities to have rapid and widespread testing available.

Director McElroy: (12:15)
In summary, in our nursing homes, we test for three reasons. One, if someone is symptomatic, if a person exhibits signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they must be tested. In the case of a staff person, they’re expected to be restricted from the facility pending results of those tests. Two, if someone tests positive in a nursing home, all resident and staff are tested. This is because it’s important to have rapid identification and isolation of new cases to stop further viral transmission. And three, we have what’s known as routine staff testing based on the extent of the virus in the community. And so I think it’s also important to note that the facilities are subject to specific reporting requirements and they must demonstrate compliance with these testing requirements. If there is noncompliance, enforcement remedies can be imposed. And in many of these cases, we are offering some assistance, some state supported assistance. For example, the Guard still assists by picking up specimens and delivering them to the lab.

Gov. DeWine: (13:25)
The involvement today with the Guard started off the Guard was doing the swabbing if I remember correctly, but what the Guard is doing now in a number of cases is picking up basically from the nursing home and taking to the lab.

Director McElroy: (13:42)
Correct. One of our strategies was to build self-sufficiency so that the strategy could be sustainable. And so in many cases, the facilities have the capability to do their own specimen collection and we assist helping with, in some cases, the packaging and definitely the transport to the lab.

Gov. DeWine: (14:02)
And the testing itself is supplied how? The kits or whatever is used.

Director McElroy: (14:11)
Again, with the state’s support, we provide the kits and those are the kits that we assist with when we go to pick up and deliver to the labs.

Gov. DeWine: (14:21)
These labs for the nursing homes then would be in the state of Ohio, basically, is that right?

Director McElroy: (14:28)
Right. Primarily. We do use other labs [inaudible 00:14:31] we can have lab capacity. We’re going to use that capacity, though.

Gov. DeWine: (14:37)
Let’s go to assisted living and tell us with the assisted living and then to maybe give an idea for everyone who’s watching, let me go back to the nursing homes. We have approximately how many in nursing homes in Ohio?

Director McElroy: (14:54)
When you begin to talk about nursing homes, between staff and residents, you’re looking at about upward of 160,000 people that have to be tested. It’s a pretty good split between staff and residents, but you’ve got a fair amount of people that have to be tested.

Gov. DeWine: (15:11)
Let’s move to the assisted living. And those numbers would be, what, about the same as is in nursing homes?

Director McElroy: (15:20)
Somewhat different. Assisted living facilities, we have about 770 of those throughout the state. We’re looking at about 80,000 or so people that have to be tested. It’s a little different. Assisted living facilities have a different structure. Oftentimes they’re configured different than a nursing facility, but still have people who have high care needs within them.

Gov. DeWine: (15:43)
And in the assisted living, how’s the testing done now? And how often is it done? What’s the protocol today?

Director McElroy: (15:53)
Right now, they’re on every other week testing cadence. I think it’s important to note that here in late August, we certainly we’re providing a state supported assistance. We were notified by the assisted living facilities, a small number of some testing data inconsistencies and so we did quickly pause so we could address the source of that problem. We now know that we have identified the source and we are excited to resume our state supported testing.

Gov. DeWine: (16:27)
That will be starting this week, I think?

Director McElroy: (16:31)
Correct. We’re ready to go this week. Absolutely.

Gov. DeWine: (16:34)
And again, in regard to, just make sure I’m correct, assisted living, that testing, that national protocol is for staff every two weeks?

Director McElroy: (16:48)
Right. Here, within our state, we have [inaudible 00:16:51] assisted living facilities to test every other week minimally. To the extent that the facility perhaps has the capability to test more, we certainly want to encourage that, but at a minimum every other week is the expectation.

Gov. DeWine: (17:07)
Let’s go to adult daycare. I know we’ve had questions about that. Adult daycare, I believe is going to start back up. They can start back up on the 21st.

Director McElroy: (17:16)
Yes.

Gov. DeWine: (17:17)
You want to give us a little overview of what’s going on or what will be going on as far as testing there?

Director McElroy: (17:24)
Absolutely. We’re excited adult day centers are permitted to reopen on the 21st. They’re very valued sector of our longterm care continuum. They often provide a lesser restrictive alternative to some of our facility care, but throughout the pandemic, their congregate services did remain closed for a great period of time. Their testing will include testing for staff and participants minimally every other week. And this is really important due to the fluid nature of adult day, the participants come and go each day, the staff have to come and go each day. We’ll stick really closely with our adult day partners so that we can provide the support they need in this testing environment.

Gov. DeWine: (18:15)
And what about our senior centers? They’re allowed to open again on the 21st and how are we handling that?

Director McElroy: (18:23)
Absolutely. That’s a wonderful day for a lot of communities as a place for recreation, preventative care, the benefits abound with our senior centers. And again, as you mentioned, they too have been closed for congregate services since March and so we’re ready to get them going. Testing for them will be for all staff, again, every other week. Participants will be on what we call a strategic testing model and that is if an individual presents with symptoms, at that point, we would ask that they are required, that they then insist upon testing, but otherwise, it is a cadence primarily for their staff.

Gov. DeWine: (19:03)
And with these adult daycare senior centers, obviously, if someone has a temperature or someone has symptoms, then normal protocols we would expect would be followed.

Director McElroy: (19:16)
Absolutely. I think it’s worth noting, and thank you for pointing that out, Governor, this is with adult day, senior centers, nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities. All of these are very important groups. In addition to the testing, they also appreciate the need for infection prevention and control. That is the cleaning. That is the screening. That is the maintaining logs. There’s a significant amount of work that goes into preparing these particular sites for people to come in safely. All of those things must happen not only when they are able to reopen and start, but throughout.

Gov. DeWine: (19:55)
Great. Director, let me just close by asking you about visitation and nursing homes. I get texts a lot. I get calls-

Gov. DeWine: (20:03)
Visitation in nursing homes. I get texts a lot. I get calls about visitation. We opened up nursing homes to visitation a few months ago. What-

Director McElroy: (20:11)
July 20th, they were able to begin outdoor visitation. It was early June, June 8th for the assisted living facilities. That is correct. The outdoor visitation is in play.

Director McElroy: (20:23)
We certainly know that the weather is not on our side, but we recognize how important it is to have ongoing connections and having those relationships remain. So it is not our plan to do anything to disrupt those connections. In fact, we’re working really hard to be able to bolster those connections here really soon. And so I look forward to coming to you and you being able to announce here very soon what we have in store for indoor visitation.

Director McElroy: (20:57)
And if I might add one last thing, sir, in addition to that, because we have heard so much from families, we’ve also worked on ways to enhance our transparency around visitation. And so we are working really hard to here soon, stand up a dashboard, if you will. Something public facing where our families, our loved ones can see what visitation looks like in their respective communities, what type of visitation, when you can visit. And if it has fluctuated based upon the case spread in that community or that facility.

Gov. DeWine: (21:32)
I know you and I get calls and you get a lot more than I do. But about people who say, “Look, I can’t visit my loved one in a nursing home.” What’s usually going on there?

Director McElroy: (21:47)
It could be a variety of things. Sometimes visitation has to pause because maybe there has been a spread of COVID-19 within that particular facility. It could be a situation where there is significant community spread, where the facility sits. There are just a host of reasons.

Director McElroy: (22:07)
And then one thing I would encourage people if you have a question, if you have concerns, if you have not been able to have those meaningful connections, we always want you to reach out to our office at the Ohio Department of Aging. In particular, our state longterm care ombudsmen so that we can look into the matter. We serve as an advocate and we certainly want to do anything we can to safely restore those connections.

Gov. DeWine: (22:35)
Good. Director, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Thanks for all the good work that you do.

Director McElroy: (22:40)
Thank you, sir.

Gov. DeWine: (22:41)
Appreciate it. Eric, I forgot a couple of the slides. If we could go to three slides. We’ll start… We’ll see which one comes up first.

Gov. DeWine: (22:53)
I asked our team a week or so ago to kind of do an analysis of where we are and… with every state surrounding us. So it just might be of interest.

Gov. DeWine: (23:05)
This first slide is cases per a hundred thousand based on population by the state. So as you can see, Pennsylvania is at 5.8. We’re at 8.3 and then we move up from there. So Ohio is right here. This is Ohio. This is where we are today.

Gov. DeWine: (23:28)
Let’s take a look at the next slide, Eric. This is positivity. We talk about positivity. Again, we’re 3.6. We’ve been around 3.6, 3.84, that area. Michigan is below us at three one. And then you can see the other states as you move up.

Gov. DeWine: (23:50)
And the last one, Eric, number of tests per a hundred thousand. So these are the tests that… number of tests that are actually being done. The higher, the better of course. And here’s where we are at this point. So we’re not where we want to be. We’re below Michigan. We continue to push to get more testing. So that just kind of an interesting comparison with the states that do surround us and each one has a different situation. Each governor is working very hard to deal with the problems, and their health department to deal with the problems that they have in their state. But it’s always just interesting to see what other states are doing.

Gov. DeWine: (24:33)
Let me move now to Ohio To Work program. Ohio’s economy like the rest of the country has certainly been impacted by the pandemic. We’re working hard to support Ohioans and Ohio’s business as they get back to work. Today, we’re announcing a new initiative that will help Ohioans who are looking for a job to have a better chance of finding that job.

Gov. DeWine: (24:58)
Led by JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services along with the Governor’s Office at Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Development Service Agency, the new initiative is called Ohio To Work. This new program brings together employers, nonprofits, educators, training providers, to help Ohioans re-skill and restart their careers.

Gov. DeWine: (25:24)
Ohio To Work will help someone who is out of work to identify a new career opportunity, train for it, and then be placed with an employer. We know it can be a challenge to find a job right now. But we also know that employers are hiring in industries such as healthcare, technology, advanced manufacturing. Our program will provide career coaches to identify person skills if they need additional training for a new career opportunity.

Gov. DeWine: (25:55)
Ohio To Work also in addition to the coaches will coordinate virtual career fairs and connect Ohioans looking for a job directly with employers looking to hire. And the first Ohio To Work initiative will be launched in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. And we hope to expand the effort to every single part of the state in the months ahead.

Gov. DeWine: (26:17)
Right now we have more than 30 employers who already have signed up with the Ohio To Work initiative. All these employers have committed to us to interview people who have participated in the initiative and they have worked with our Ohio To Work partners. J.P Nauseef Is going to join us now. JP is the president chief investment officer of JobsOhio. He’s going to tell us more about how this program is going to work. JP, very exciting. Tell our viewers exactly how this is program we hope is going to work

J.P Nauseef: (26:51)
Thank you very much, Governor DeWine. The Ohio To Work was formed to address the unprecedented number of Ohioans who filed for unemployment due to the impact of COVID. More than 500,000 Ohioans have been displaced since March. So JobsOhio hasn’t traditionally been involved in developing workforce in Ohio, but this is a time of exceptional need. And our board of directors agreed that if we could help, then we should help.

J.P Nauseef: (27:20)
JobsOhio, as you know is unique among state level economic development organizations in America. Our private structure, independent and stable funding, and strong statewide network of partners enables us to adapt very quickly as needs arise, such as this pandemic. Ohio To Work is new. It’s a collaborative effort designed to address this need by supercharging and optimizing the current workforce development ecosystem to deliver comprehensive yet personal training, career placements and other services that Ohioans need and that they deserve.

J.P Nauseef: (27:58)
By increasing coordination among all the partners, we hope to increase their ability to help someone who is out of work to connect with coaching, training, and help them on their way to restarting their careers. Ohio’s employers are key to this initiative. Governor, as we saw already in the presentation, over 30 have signed on in the Cleveland area alone. Many of them helped design the program in terms of identifying the best way for Ohioans seeking work to connect with employers and employment opportunities.

J.P Nauseef: (28:34)
Technology is going to play a vital role as well. Ohio To Work partners are making use of the best tools available in the marketplace today, including artificial intelligence intelligence to help point people on a path not only to an open job, but to a sustainable higher paying new career. That means it’s not just a one size fits all approach. And that’s what makes it so exciting. Each Ohioan using the program will be heard and the coach will be assigned and will work with them to find the pathway that’s best for them. And we can, and we must do it very fast because the need is there. We will also be launching virtual career fairs as early as October as a way to make connections between workers and employers, even during an evolving pandemic.

J.P Nauseef: (29:24)
But one of the things we’re most proud of is Ohio To Work’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The unemployment rate where we’re piloting this program in Cuyahoga County is 12.9%. It’s the highest unemployment rate in Ohio, and it’s over 13% of the total unemployment average in the state. And of that, 40% of the unemployed in Cuyahoga County are African-Americans compared to just 20% statewide. So we believe for Ohio’s recovery to be sustainable, it must be inclusive of all Ohioans. And we’ve created partnerships with the Urban League, with Goodwill to ensure representation, communication, and equal access with underrepresented populations. We’re very excited about this effort governor and looking forward to kicking it off.

Gov. DeWine: (30:14)
Well, great. Thanks JP for telling us about this. So if someone is out there watching this right now, or they may be see it on the news tonight, how do they get started on this? Let’s say, I’m looking for a job, what’s my entry point? What do I do?

J.P Nauseef: (30:30)
The best thing to do is go to Ohiotowork.com. It’s Ohio T-O, work.com. And that’s where you’ll find the roadmap. That’s where you’ll be… Unemployed worker will be connected to a coach and the tools and resources to guide them through this process.

Gov. DeWine: (30:47)
I mean one of the things I think I find exciting about this is there is a coach. There is someone to help you go through this process. We know that we have jobs that are available out there. We also know that we have people who are unemployed. Sometimes those can be mashed up. Sometimes someone’s skills have to be enhanced. So this is really kind of taken a holistic approach, but a very individual approach to the person. So if they go to that right now, is that up now?

J.P Nauseef: (31:18)
The site is online now.

Gov. DeWine: (31:20)
Exactly.

J.P Nauseef: (31:21)
Yes, sir. It is. We soft launched it earlier and I’m happy to say that each person will be assigned to coach. This is a very motivated group of people. They’ve been provided technology and very recent information about the businesses and the industries that they’ll be advising on.

J.P Nauseef: (31:39)
And our partners at the Urban League, at OhioMeansJobs, and at Goodwill are ready. But the best place to start is Ohiotowork.com.

Gov. DeWine: (31:49)
Okay. JP, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thanks for sharing that with us. In a moment, we’re going to turn to two of our superintendents. This is something I’ve enjoyed doing, is hearing from superintendents around the state what exactly they’re doing. But before that, I want to just say that we are… Obviously all Ohioans are thinking about those who are in the path of a hurricane, whether it be at Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, we’re certainly thinking of them. We’re also thinking of everyone out West who has been impacted by the fires. And we do have Ohio men and women who have traveled west this year and to help fight the fires. I’m really proud of what they have done.

Gov. DeWine: (32:34)
So far this summer, 21 individuals from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have been engaged in fighting those fires. Here are some of the assignments. 3 firefighters in California, 4 firefighters in Colorado, 20 firefighters in Wyoming, 2 firefighters in Oregon, and 1 firefighter in Arizona. That’s been this summer.

Gov. DeWine: (32:59)
Today, currently we have three firefighters in California, two in Oregon and three that are just now I guess starting to return from Colorado. So we thank them for their strong work and we’re thinking about all those from all the states who are out there fighting fires. And we pray for them and we pray for the families that are in the path of the hurricane and that are dealing with the fires and the aftermath of the fires.

Gov. DeWine: (33:28)
Let’s go now to our superintendents. Today, I’ve invited Brookeville local superintendent Timothy Hopkins to join us. Brookeville’s a small district, a relatively small district in Montgomery County.

Gov. DeWine: (33:41)
Superintendent, thank you very much for joining us.

Timothy Hopkins: (33:44)
Thank you very much, governor DeWine. Thank you for having me today.

Gov. DeWine: (33:48)
Well, tell us a little bit about, real quick, how big your school district is. And you’re basically on… in person right now I think.

Timothy Hopkins: (33:58)
Yes, sir. We’re a district of about 1500 total students. So at any given grade level, we’ll be between 115 to 130 students. And located in the Northwest corner of Montgomery County. Today’s kind of a landmark for us.

Timothy Hopkins: (34:16)
Within the next half hour, we will have completed four weeks of school in person. So we’re really excited about the fact that our students were able to get back into the buildings, reconnect with their teachers, reconnect with their peers, and it’s been a very positive experience for us.

Gov. DeWine: (34:32)
So tell us a little bit about what you’ve done and what you’re noticing. Just kind of how’s it going?

Timothy Hopkins: (34:39)
Well, I would just start with the fact that we bought into information from the American Academy of Pediatrics that the best place for students to be if possible was in school, in person and each community had to make their own decision based on what was best for their community.

Timothy Hopkins: (34:56)
But when we pulled our parents back in June, 90% of those parents said, we want our kids back in school. And so we were able to bring them back into the district. We started on August 19th. We like to say that we’re able to see them smile even with their mask on, we see the smile in their eyes. And we’ve been really excited about having them on campus, not just the fact that academically we believe it’s a plus, but also social, emotional, health, and nutrition. There are just a lot of different ways that we believe it’s a positive that they’re in the buildings.

Timothy Hopkins: (35:34)
I would just share a couple of quick stories with you maybe today governor that… One of the things that we did before the school year started was that we reached out to a local nonprofit organization who rented picnic tables to festivals like October Fest. And obviously they didn’t have the ability to do that this year because the festivals had been canceled. So we rented about 60 picnic tables and brought them in and we’ve had the ability to split our lunches. And so every other day, our students eat outside at the picnic table and that’s been a really big plus for us.

Timothy Hopkins: (36:09)
It not only has freed up room in the cafeteria for those students still eating in the cafeteria to social distance and be able to get apart from each other. But every other day, the students come, we’ve had a beautiful fall here in the Miami Valley and so every other day, the students come knowing that they’re going to get to eat outside at the picnic tables. Obviously that’s a time when they’ve got to take their mask off in order to eat.

Timothy Hopkins: (36:30)
And I’ve learned through, actually through your press conferences governor, that we’re 19 times less likely to catch COVID we’re outside. And so we feel like that’s been a real positive, our kids are enjoying the fresh air, they’re enjoying the opportunity to be outside. And that’s one thing that we could do as a school district to help prevent COVID, but still have students on campus every day.

Gov. DeWine: (36:53)
Well, that’s very innovative. And I imagine the students like that. That’s kind of fun to get outside particularly if it’s a day in the fall like this. A little cooler today but a pretty pretty good day. How are your teachers doing? How are your teachers and bus drivers and everybody else who… people who work in the office, cafeteria, how they all doing?

Timothy Hopkins: (37:16)
I think in general, across the board, everybody’s just happy to be back in session. There’s a huge win-win when students from a community are able to come to school every day and make eye contact and reach out to teachers and the teachers can develop that rapport. Bus drivers, we talk about the fact that they’re the first to see our students every day when they pick them up on the way to school. Cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals. Across the board, I just think again, we’re one month in now, we’re excited about that. We see lot of positive attitudes.

Timothy Hopkins: (37:52)
We developed a little refrigerator magnet that we passed out to every student to begin a year with the COVID-19 checklist of what you need to make sure you bring to school each day. And at the bottom of that was a positive attitude. And we’ve seen that with both our employees and our students and everybody seems excited to be here and really pushing forward.

Gov. DeWine: (38:13)
Well, thanks for Skyping in with us today and interrupting your day. And good luck to your… Thank your teachers and all your team and good luck to you at Brookville. And it sounds like you’re doing some neat and innovative things. Thanks for sharing. We appreciate it.

Timothy Hopkins: (38:31)
Thank you, governor. We appreciate being here-

Gov. DeWine: (38:36)
Thank you.

Timothy Hopkins: (38:37)
And [crosstalk 00:38:37] these ideas with you.

Gov. DeWine: (38:37)
Thank you.

Timothy Hopkins: (38:37)
We go now to Robert O’Leary, the superintendent Vandalia-Butler Schools also here in the Miami Valley. Mr. Superintendent, how are you doing?

Robert O’Leary: (38:49)
I’m very well today Governor DeWine, how are you doing?

Gov. DeWine: (38:52)
I’m well. I see you got the purple behind you there. We can’t miss that. So it’s good. Tell us a little bit about how school’s going and how big is your district? How many students in K through 12?

Robert O’Leary: (39:05)
So we’re about 3000 students in in our district. So things are going very well. To start, again, thank you. It’s an honor to be a guest on today’s press conference. So I don’t disappoint my team here in Vandalia-Butler city schools and my colleagues in Montgomery County, the superintendents, and some colleagues across the state. I like to start off all of my zoom meetings putting on a different type of PPE here today.

Gov. DeWine: (39:32)
Wow.

Robert O’Leary: (39:33)
So got to make sure that I don’t disappoint. I do most of those new meetings with that on at least to start. So-

Gov. DeWine: (39:41)
Is there is a more of a story behind that or is that just your-

Robert O’Leary: (39:45)
There actually is. There’s two levels to this. One, every year except for this year, we start off… Well, we did it this year, just in a different way, but we start off our opening day with staff with a costume theme. And two years ago, we did your favorite superhero.

Robert O’Leary: (40:02)
… ago we did your favorite superhero. So I chose Captain America. And then actually ironically, during the quarantine and shutdown with all the evening events and a little more time with the family, we decided to watch the entire Avengers movies in the order in which the story goes, which was enlightening and very fun to do.

Gov. DeWine: (40:23)
That was great. That’s great. Well, tell us how you’re doing and what’s going on in school.

Robert O’Leary: (40:27)
So we’re doing very well. We completed three weeks on Friday. We chose in person based off of feedback that we had from our parents. About 84% of our parents chose the in person model and 16% chose an all online or remote option. So things are going very well with the in person delivery. We have a couple hiccups and kinks to work through on our online delivery, but we’re working diligently on that. It’s like we’ve said in different conversations with staff and parents, we’ve been educating students in this community since 1807 in person. Even that, we change year to year. So we’ve been doing this online remote program for a little more than two weeks, and so we need a little more time to adjust and tweak and make that better, but we continue to work hard on that.

Robert O’Leary: (41:26)
But the start of the school year, feedback that we’ve had from teachers who’ve been here for years, I know there was apprehension from some to begin the year, lots of different protocols and processes in place, but one quote from a teacher with almost 20 years experience said that it was her best first day of school she’s ever had. So we’re off to a great start.

Gov. DeWine: (41:53)
Well, that’s great. So we always try to look for different things, any unique things that you may have come up with. You want to tell us about anything you’re doing that you’re particularly excited about to keep kids safe?

Robert O’Leary: (42:08)
Yeah, similar to Tim with the outdoor thought, in July, I received an email from a grandparent in the district who’s also a doctor. And in the email, she attached an article. And at the end of the article, there was kind of a little story about during the tuberculosis pandemic, how some schools in some cities used the concept of using tents for outdoor classrooms. So that was pretty early in July. So we kind of put that one on the shelf as we were continuing our planning and getting feedback from staff and parents on the delivery models. But that’s something that we ended up moving forward with. In fact, I reached out to a tent vendor, a party tent vendor, and we’ve rented four 30×60 outdoor tents. So that’s an additional 1800 square feet of flexible space for our two elementaries that it served, kindergarten through third grade, our fourth and fifth grade building, and our middle school that serves six through eight. We chose not to do it at the high school because the high school has more space and some bigger areas where we were better able to space students out.

Robert O’Leary: (43:27)
So we worked closely with our city of Vandalia, the township, Montgomery County, on the permit process, because there’s obviously permits and safety things we have to consider as we installed those. But as our community always does, they rally around us and support us. And we moved through that pretty quickly. A couple of days after the first day of school, we had those tents put up. So across the district, I’ve seen a multiple disability classroom at our fourth and fifth grade building utilize the tent for outdoor learning space. I’ve seen our middle school utilize it for band, where we were able to be outside and space people out. Both our elementary have utilized that as well for outdoor and extended learning spaces and flexible spaces. Our Morton Middle School principal even used the tent yesterday for a staff meeting. The weather was beautiful and they took advantage of the beautiful weather to get outside and space and have a staff meeting. So some really good stuff going along that way.

Robert O’Leary: (44:35)
Some of the things that we’ve done, one of my elementary buildings, Demmitt, the principal and PE teacher divided the playground into quadrants to kind of use as a concept for creating a little bit of a bubble with our individual classrooms and visually allowing them to see spaces again, for them to move freely, but also keep distance. One of the other elementary, Helke, they can’t do their typical pumpkin patch this year, so we’re bringing the pumpkin patch to Helke and going to allow students to individually go out and pick their pumpkin for the fall. So just across the board, doing some really neat and innovative things. As I said earlier, our high school is doing a great job of just utilizing the spaces that are available to them to space students out.

Gov. DeWine: (45:26)
Well, that’s great. Very innovative, spreading people out, putting them outside and doing different things. So thank you very much for that report and good luck to team at Vandalia Butler and all the people that work there and all the students. And we hope you continue to have a good year, and thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to Skype in and tell us about it.

Robert O’Leary: (45:51)
I appreciate the opportunity. I’d be remiss to not thank Premier Health, our medical partners there at Premier and Dr. Allen for all the support that they’ve given us in helping us develop plans and work through situations as well as the health department as we continue to implement the processes and procedures and the guidelines.

Gov. DeWine: (46:14)
Great. Thank you. We appreciate it very, very much. Moving on to universities just quickly, spent some time this week on the phone with our health departments and also talked in regard to the universities. Kind of, again, what we continue to see is it would certainly appear that the kids who are back in class are doing okay in class. They’re doing okay probably in the library. And even the students who are back in dormitories. But according to the college presidents, what they tell me is where we’re really seeing the problem is just kind of same way with everybody else, people getting together and not being careful, not wearing a mask. And so I guess the message to students from college presidents is if you want to be able to stay, have a good year, we’re going to have to take some precautions. We’re going to have to do some things that in a normal year, obviously we would not do.

Gov. DeWine: (47:14)
So I guess I would just add to that, if you can wear a mask in class, wear a mask, walking around campus, when you do something social, bring people together, just warm a mask, be careful. As we’ve heard from our two superintendents, if you can do something outside, you can be outside, generally it’s going to be safer than being inside. So we’re ready for questions.

Speaker 1: (47:41)
Governor, first question today is from Laura Hancock at Cleveland.com.

Laura Hancock: (47:49)
Hello, governor.

Gov. DeWine: (47:50)
Hello.

Laura Hancock: (47:52)
Hi. On Sunday, our reporters saw a lot of football fans at bars in the Cleveland area, not observing social distancing and other rules to prevent the spread of COVID. We haven’t seen a lot of citations as a result of that. This Thursday night, the Browns play their first game at home. How concerned are you about this? Will there be any renewed effort for agents to monitor bars on Thursday night?

Gov. DeWine: (48:19)
Well, it’s football season and there certainly is ample opportunity for people to get together and watch football. Browns Bengals game is always a fun game, two great quarterbacks this year and great other players. So it’s going to be a fun, a fun opportunity for everybody, but look, we just tell people to be careful. I know that football brings a lot of people out who want to kind of congregate together and we understand that, but the biggest spread we see is when people are congregating together. And as far as our bars are concerned, the vast majority of our bars, people own them, people that run them are doing a good job. Same way with restaurants.

Gov. DeWine: (49:02)
We do have agents out from liquor control and we saw the first bar that was lost their license. I think it was yesterday. It’s not what we want to see. But again, the agents will do their job when they go out. Many times people in the bar make it very difficult for people who are running the bar. The bar owners ultimately are responsible, but we would just ask everyone, help them out, help your favorite bar out. Don’t create a problem. Don’t have such congregation that there’s great possibility of spread. So yeah, look, we’re concerned anytime that you have people who are coming together and in close proximity together, and a lot of people. But the rules of the bar, rules of restaurants are people have to be six feet. They cannot congregate together. They need to be seated. These are all the basic things that have been in the rules for some time. I think if people do that, they can have a good time. They can root for the Bengals or root for the Browns and have a good evening.

Gov. DeWine: (50:10)
We also, as you know, that game is the first game. There will be 6,000 fans admitted. They’ll be in quadrants, in different areas. And again, based on their plan and based upon our confidence in them, we’re sure that the Browns will do a very good job. We’re sure that the Bengals, when they host a home game, their second game, we’ll do a good job as well.

Speaker 1: (50:35)
Next question is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.

Kevin Landers: (50:40)
Hello, Governor.

Gov. DeWine: (50:42)
Hi, Kevin.

Kevin Landers: (50:43)
Governor, Dr. Duvwe seemed surprised to learn about the treatment Dr. Acton received and mentioned that as reasons not to accept the position. Did you withhold that information from her? Did you believe her as that’s the reason that she decided not to accept the position? And also just to kind of switch gears a little bit, Halloween is coming up. Are you going to leave that to communities to decide, or is that going to be something the state will step in and decide whether or not that’s safe enough to happen?

Gov. DeWine: (51:08)
Look, local health departments as well as the State Health Department will certainly have recommendations in regard to Halloween. I don’t have those today. Look, as far as Dr. Duvwe is concerned, I take people at face value. I’ve had people before telling me for personal reasons, they couldn’t do something. They couldn’t take a job or they need to leave a job. When someone just tells you it’s personal reasons, I move on because you have to respect what that person is saying. We had conversations, I had conversations, Lieutenant Governor had conversations, and I know key members of my team had conversations with her. And I do know that some of the conversation came up in regard to the demonstration, for example, that took place at Dr. Acton’s home.

Gov. DeWine: (52:01)
So look, I mean, sometimes you don’t fully grasp things, this happens to me, until you kind of get into something and then you see it more. But I’m only speculating. We were open with her, but she called that night. You all remember a press conference at 2:30 or something. I announced it and 7:30 or so, I was getting a call from my team and said that she had called and for personal reasons felt that she needed to withdraw. So I respect that.

Speaker 1: (52:47)
Next question is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.

Geoff Redick: (52:53)
Thank you. To follow up on that, Governor, do you worry that not only because she withdrew, but because Dr. Duvwe specifically called out the treatment of a prior Health Director in Ohio, that would in any way deter future candidates from this job?

Gov. DeWine: (53:12)
Well, I think if the question is can we find a person to serve who’s a very good person to serve as Health Director, the answer certainly is yes. We also, as you know, have a vacancy in Medical Director. And so we’re looking to fill that position as well. Previous Medical Director, after being with the department many years, retired. So these are two key positions certainly that we’re trying to fill. We’ll be able to fill them.

Speaker 1: (53:39)
Next question is from Andy Chow at Ohio Public Radio And Television.

Gov. DeWine: (53:44)
Andy.

Andy Chow: (53:44)
Hi, Governor. Is Dr. Duvwe the first to turn down the position, or have you offered this to other people who have also turned it down? Have you heard these concerns about potential public harassment from other candidates?

Gov. DeWine: (53:59)
I would have to check with Laurel [inaudible 00:14:06], but I don’t recall having anyone else expressed to me that they had a concern about not serving because of that reason. We have, certainly when you reach out to a number of people, once in a while, someone’s going to say, “No, I’m not interested in the job.” But I’m not aware of anybody saying that the reason they would not be interested in the job would be because of what happened in regard to Dr. Acton. So I’m not aware of that at all. I don’t think that’s happened.

Speaker 1: (54:41)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.

Gov. DeWine: (54:46)
Hey Jack.

Jack Windsor: (54:47)
Hi Governor. Yesterday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania issued a declaratory judgment that struck down Governor Wolf’s business closures, gathering limits, and his stay at home orders in that state. And the judge said, ” Even in an emergency, the authority of the government is not unfettered. The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair weather freedoms in place when times are good, but able to be cast aside in times of trouble.” Now, the judge’s decision was based upon federal constitutional considerations. So although at this point the decision is persuasive, it’s not binding on Ohio, it may end up having implications here, perhaps. So Governor, a simple but important question today, you’ve said in the past, wearing masks, abiding by business restrictions, and honoring limits on social gatherings, is the way for Ohioans to buy or earn their freedom. Do you believe that in the United States, freedom is something that citizens must earn, or do you agree with the federal judge that constitutional freedoms are granted unconditionally to everyone at all times, not just when it’s convenient?

Gov. DeWine: (55:53)
Well, we have a wonderful Constitution. We are blessed with the Constitution that we have. We’re blessed with the liberty that we have. I would go back to what some of our founders said. These basic rights do not come from government. These basic rights come from God. So I don’t think, you and I, Jack, will quarrel on that. What happened in Pennsylvania, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about the case. I don’t know what their statute says so I’m not going to comment on that. But liberties that we have, the rights that we have protected by our Constitution, I do not think it’s unfettered. I don’t think there’s unlimited or that my power or any elected official’s power is unlimited at all. So there’s probably more you and I agree on than you might think.

Speaker 1: (56:49)
Next question is from Jackie Borchardt at Cincinnati Inquirer.

Jackie Borchardt: (56:55)
Thank you, Governor. Two questions here. One, will you be in Zanesville with the Vice President tomorrow? And second, what happened to the state’s efforts to bring antigen tests and use them broadly here?

Gov. DeWine: (57:08)
Yeah. Look, we had conversations yesterday 4:00 or 5:00 with some of our lab people, our lab experts, our testing experts about antigen. We think antigen is a part of an overall strategy, and we will have that be coming in. Part of this is how far along the private sector is in regard to development. I got a pretty good briefing on it or an update on it. And we’re all in, in the sense that the PCR tests are important, the antigen tests are important. They play a different role. And they’re both very, very, very important. I’m not planning on being in Zanesville tomorrow. I’m always happy to see the Vice President come to Ohio and we welcome him to come.

Speaker 1: (58:00)
Next question is from Max Philby at the Columbus Dispatch.

Max Philby: (58:06)
Hey, Governor. We’re approaching this week the deadline that your administration had set for schools to report COVID case data. Should we expect to see some of that on the state’s website this week or next week or when?

Gov. DeWine: (58:20)
Yeah. It’s going to come basically what the schedule that we outlined, we hope for it to. And so you’re going to see those. Look, the schools are doing, I think, a very good job, at least from what I can see in reporting. I think the local news media is reporting. We happen to live in the Dayton media market, but I look at media from around the state and I think the media is reporting what a lot of schools are in fact doing. Schools are being very open about it. Many of them have dashboards up. So we’re going to do what we said we’re going to do. And we’re going to try to do it in the time we said we would do it.

Speaker 1: (59:00)
Next question is from Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.

Gov. DeWine: (59:05)
Hi Jim.

Jim Otte: (59:06)
Governor, if we can, let’s go back to the protests and the harassment that Dr. Acton faced and Dr. Duvwe chose not to face. To what degree is this making your job harder to find that next person? And would you warn the candidates, those potential new hires, this is the kind of protest and harassment that potentially you would face when you come here to take this job?

Gov. DeWine: (59:30)
Well, I don’t think Ohio is unique. You know, Jim, we’ve seen protests against governors. We’ve seen protest against health directors throughout this country. We know that these are issues that can be divisive. I’ve tried to do everything I can so that we’re not divided as a state, because I think that we need to be together and fight this battle together. But look, we live in a country where people can express their opinions. They can do that. We are firm believers in the first amendment-

Gov. DeWine: (01:00:03)
… express their opinions, they can do that. We are firm believers in the first amendment. They can go demonstrate, they can protest. So I don’t think we’re in a different position than any other state that would be hiring a health director. What you’re looking for is somebody who has the qualifications to do the job. When you look at a health department there’s a lot of things that you need. You need the management side of it, which is very, very important, which has a lot of similarities to management of any organization and it’s a very important organization. It’s the recruitment of good personnel, that’s a component part. You also have to have people in here who can give the Governor and then give the rest of our team medical advice. Certainly Dr. Acton did that, but we’re looking for a medical director as well and we’re looking for a health director and those two positions cover all the things that I just laid out.

Gov. DeWine: (01:01:13)
So we’ll find the right people and let me just say, I don’t want to get too concerned. We have some very, very good people at the health department right now. Some of them have been there a long time. We have, during this pandemic, surged in people from other departments and we will continue to do that. People who are good managers, people who can be of assistance and we’ve really reached out outside state government with our colleges and our universities. We’re on the phone a lot with Ohio State, with people from Ohio State, people from the University of Cincinnati, people from Case and I can just go on and on. University Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, these are people who have come together to help us and anytime I’ve asked them be on 6:30AM call, yeah, they’re there.

Gov. DeWine: (01:02:15)
So, we pulled a lot of people together and I think that’s what the public would expect. We’re in a battle, we’re in a war and it’s not over. I know we’re getting tired, but we have to continue to rally, we have to continue to fight this. And we’ve got some very, very good people who are helping me from all over the state, some in government, some out of government and they’re making a huge, huge difference. So it’s a very strong team, we’ve got a couple of positions to fill but as the team is on the field today, it’s a very good team as I said, but it’s aided by a lot of other good people who are not a part of government.

Speaker 2: (01:02:56)
Next question is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH in Columbus.

Adrienne Robbins: (01:03:02)
Hi Governor, thank you for your time today as always. A followup to that, you said Ohio is not alone in this and that’s true, but what does it say about our state and the climate here to people who live here or people who are thinking about moving here, or even bringing a business here that we have multiple people who cite abuse from the public as a reason they don’t want to work in public office. Do you think this reflects poorly on Ohio?

Gov. DeWine: (01:03:25)
No. Look we’re a state of individuals, individuals who are Midwesterners, we’re Ohioans, we’re tough, we’re strong and we’re resilient and with that, those are people who have strong opinions and I think it’s a great opportunity to be involved in a great cause. My friend, John McCain, used to always talk about giving yourself to a cause bigger than yourself and that’s really what the people who are involved every day and this includes the health departments, 113 health departments, it includes hospitals, it includes nurses and doctors and health professionals, it includes my team, but they’re all giving of themselves to something bigger than their own lives or their own selves. So I’m excited about what we’re doing. It’s not me, it’s all the people we’ve got and it’s all Ohioans who are in this battle.

Gov. DeWine: (01:04:35)
And so, we’re in the middle of this battle is not over with, I don’t know what percentage of it is gone, but we’re fighting with the tools that we have until we get a vaccine. And we really get into that with a large number of people taking it we’re going to continue this battle with the tools that we have, and we’re going to fight with the tools we have. What are they? The ability to wear a mask, the ability to social distance, the ability to follow good hygiene, making decisions like being outside, if it’s a choice of inside or outside doing something, going outside.

Gov. DeWine: (01:05:12)
So these are all things that Ohioans have done well. I put the numbers up on there, compared us to other States and they’re all working hard. We’re not trying to compare, but we’re doing okay. We’re doing okay, but we have to keep going. We’ve got a ways to go, we can’t let this slip away from us. If we want our kids to be in school, then we’ve got to continue to fight. And so, it’s a cause that I think is a very, very important cause. We’ll fill these two slots but in the meantime, we’re battling on.

Speaker 2: (01:05:49)
Next question is from Noah Blondeau at Hannah News Service.

Noah Blondeau: (01:05:53)
Good afternoon Governor. Can you hear me?

Gov. DeWine: (01:05:56)
I can, indeed, yes.

Noah Blondeau: (01:05:58)
Thank you. Today the Department of Education released school report cards that don’t have any grades on them and missing a lot of testing data because of how things had to go in the spring because of the pandemic. The legislature is considering whether schools should be graded for this year and people have suggested students, children, shouldn’t be tested. How do you feel about how students should be assessed this year and how their districts should be graded this year based on how things are going so far?

Gov. DeWine: (01:06:34)
Well, first of all, I fully recognize that this is something that the legislature decides. I certainly can have an opinion about it. I’ve talked a little bit to the Speaker and the Senate President and I have great deal of respect for both of them and the minority leaders as well. So this is something that we will be talking about. What I have said is that I think there has to be enough tests, requisite tests, so that parents and schools know where they are, because this has been difficult. I mean, we had a spring that was an unusual spring. We’re having an unusual fall, we’ve got some kids that are doing on remote, so we need to be able to measure that.

Gov. DeWine: (01:07:19)
But I guess from my personal point of view, the consequences that go with that, I’m not too excited about that. I want to know, I think people need to know where their kids are, but as far as rating schools or ranking schools and doing things like that and other ramifications, I’m not sure that that’s really that important. Now, I will point out the obvious and that is that the federal law restricts us in this area. And unless there is some changes, the federal law is going to dictate some of these tests that we don’t have any choice about.

Speaker 2: (01:07:59)
Next question is from Scott Hallis at the Xenia Daily Gazette.

Gov. DeWine: (01:08:03)
Hey Scott.

Scott Hallis: (01:08:05)
Hey, how you doing today?

Gov. DeWine: (01:08:06)
I’m well sir.

Scott Hallis: (01:08:08)
Good, good. The Ohio Controlling Board yesterday denied the request from the Secretary of State to be able to pay for a postage for absentee ballots. In this tough economic time where even mailing two or three ballots could cause a hardship for people and where people don’t want to get out and vote. How important was this request and what’s your reaction to that?

Gov. DeWine: (01:08:31)
Well, to state my position and I’ve shared it with the legislative leaders. I’m in favor of that, but it was clear that the legislative leaders and not just the leaders, but the legislature did not want to do that. Well let me say, our Secretary of State and local boards, I think, are doing a good job. Everybody in this state should have by now received the application. So they have the opportunity to go fill that application in, Fran and I have them inside the house and send it in and then as soon as the day comes when those absentee ballots can be sent out, they can be sent out. So it’s really, I think, a pretty easy process and procedure. Someone does have to affix a stamp to it there’s no doubt about that, but I think it’s a pretty easy process.

Gov. DeWine: (01:09:33)
I think Ohio does a good job. We have voting for four weeks. You can vote if you want to vote in person, you can go to your local board of elections and vote. When you get down to the last weekend or so you can vote on Sunday, you can vote other times and you can look that up. If you want to wait until election day, Fran I usually wait till election day, you got 13 hours to go vote, 6:30 in the morning to 7:30 at night. We’re used to though having people vote absentee and we’ve done it, I think, for about two decades or so and so, that’s something we’re used to. Now, I would expect, at least the Secretary of State tells me that the numbers that requesting that are up, so we would expect those numbers to be higher. But with or without the state paying for the stamp, I think that we’re going to run a very good election and I think people have every opportunity out there to vote and we’re a state that values that and I think we’ll be fine.

Speaker 2: (01:10:37)
Next question is from Jake Zuckerman at the Ohio Capital Journal.

Gov. DeWine: (01:10:41)
Hey Jake.

Jacob Zuckerman: (01:10:44)
Hi Governor. You’ve cited John Barry’s history of the 1918 flu pandemic a few times at these briefings and on the last page of that book Barry says the following about lessons to learn from the Spanish flu pandemic, a direct quote here, “Those in authority must retain the public trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one.” Even the President’s remarks that he downplayed the virus early on to avoid panic, do you think the President ever learned that lesson?

Gov. DeWine: (01:11:20)
Well, I thought you were asking about me actually, what we’re doing in Ohio. Look, I read the book, I think generally most political scientists and historians would say when you get a crisis like this … I’ve tried to be as open as I can. We continue to learn about the pandemic. So, when we would have said early on because this was the guidance and what everybody thought, well, a mask was not that important it turned out that was wrong. So what I tried to do is tell people what I know when I knew it but we continue to evolve in what we know. That certainly is true for any Governor, it certainly is true for the President. So I’m not going to get into a critique of the President, I’m not going to do that.

Gov. DeWine: (01:12:18)
As I’ve expressed to you before, when I’ve called the white house, when I’ve called the President, when I’ve called the Vice President they have been very, very responsive. We are on a call every single week with the Vice President, sometimes President, usually the Vice President and two hours usually back and forth and it’s all about people looking into the problem and figuring out, okay, well, what can we do to help you and what do you need? And that’s how the white house has been and that’s been my, as Governor of the state of Ohio representing the people of Ohio, that’s been my relationship with the white house.

Speaker 2: (01:12:59)
Next question is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.

Alex Ebert: (01:13:05)
Thanks for having us Governor. Last week, President Trump said during a rally that he’s responsible for a boom in auto plant creation in Ohio, Michigan, and other States and that’s not the case. Ohio hasn’t had any new auto plants break ground during his tenure. Do you feel the need to correct the President on his economic development record? And if so, what should Ohioans think about the state of auto manufacturing in Ohio?

Gov. DeWine: (01:13:31)
Well, no. I mean, we’re always looking for new jobs, but let’s look at what’s going on and in Lordstown now. I was there a month or so ago, John was there and we’re going to be starting to build electric trucks in Orangetown. We didn’t like the GM plant moving on, but people in Lordstown and people in Mahoning Valley are tough and strong and we tried to help as well and local officials did and we just said, “Look, let’s move on and bring jobs in for that plant.” So I’m very optimistic about what’s going to happen about making trucks, electric trucks in Lordstown. If you look at the investment General Motors has in other parts of the state, other companies, we continue to be a major car state. We’ve always been as well, not only a major producer of cars, but a major producer of parts for cars, so we’re moving forward.

Speaker 2: (01:14:36)
Governor, next question is today’s last question, and it belongs to Jim Province of the Toledo Blade.

Gov. DeWine: (01:14:42)
Hey Jim.

Jim Province: (01:14:43)
Hello. Thanks again, Governor. A lawsuit was filed since your last a briefing in Putnam County that challenged mask order. And I know you don’t like to talk about litigation but what do you think of the fact that this lawsuit was filed in the same county that you listed today as being number one in your ranking of counties when it comes to the spread rate?

Gov. DeWine: (01:15:04)
I don’t think anything of it, anybody can file anything in court. One of the first things they teach you in law school is, hey, you want to file something, you can walk in and file it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win, but it takes one person that wants to file a lawsuit and I have been sued so many times during this and I was sued many times when I was attorney general so I make nothing of it and I turn it over to David Youst and the lawyers and we move on. I want to thank everybody very, very much and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday, unless something comes up between now and then we’ll see you on Thursday. Thank you very much. I hope everybody has a good fall day.